Friday, March 02, 2007

Everything I Love: Ice Fishing

Hundreds of fisherman gather in Wawa, Ontario this weekend where they will spend two frosty days shuttling between augured holes in the minus 20-degree temperatures and waiting for baited willow branches to twitch - signaling the bite of a lake trout or white fish. Many will have traveled from Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota for a shot at the Wawa Fish Derby's rich purse, but most hardy locals simply seek a lifetime's bragging rights - my brother-in-law never misses an opportunity to recall the 7+ lb lake trout that placed him in the top 10 in 2004. My mother-in-law runs her crew with a determined orchestration and is always a threat to finish in the money.

Though I can't be out on Hawk Lake with them this year, a few of my classmates joined me last weekend in Beaverton, where Tim Hales ferried the Iv'y Rod & Gun Club to the middle of Lake Simcoe in his gleaming #3 Bombardier snow bus (pronounced bom-ba-deer outside Toronto and Montreal) . Tim gave us the three-and-a-half-digit rural Ontario salute, we snapped a few frosty pics in front of our green shanty, and then piled inside to fire up the propane stove and drop lines. Soon the hut was too hot for parkas and the tip-ups began to teeter. We seldom were without a bite for more than a few minutes and were often hauling up perch with sticks of beef jerky still clenched in our jaws. Not long before lunch we had a white fish double header, the fish twisting our 2 lb lines into a perilous knot. One broke off as it breached the surface, but the other was snatched and tossed far from the holes to become the day's trophy. A lunch of 321 Earl Street Chili, hot dogs, and Miller High Life gave us the energy for more than 60 perch that afternoon before the rumble of the snow bus called us home.

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